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What We Read Today 03 May 2015

Econintersect: Every day our editors collect the most interesting things they find from around the internet and present a summary "reading list" which will include very brief summaries (and sometimes longer ones) of why each item has gotten our attention. Suggestions from readers for "reading list" items are gratefully reviewed, although sometimes space limits the number included.

This feature is published every day late afternoon New York time. For early morning review of headlines see "The Early Bird" published every day in the early am at GEI News (membership not required for access to "The Early Bird".).


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Articles about events, conflicts and disease around the world


  • Baltimore mayor lifts curfew after dozens arrested overnight (Al Jazeera)  Baltimore's mayor has lifted a citywide curfew six days after the death of Freddie Gray sparked protests and occasional violence in the city.  Maryland's governor called Sunday for 'a day of prayer and peace'.
  • Where to Go on Wall Street for a Big Pay Day (Bloomberg)  Wall Street is where you go to make a ton of money without risking any of your own.  What is wrong with this system?
  • Suspect Charged in Officer Shooting in Queens (The New York Times)  The Queens man suspected of shooting and critically wounding a New York City police officer who had driven up in an unmarked car to question him was charged with attempted murder on Sunday.  The officer remains in critical condition.
  • Pop-up boutique takes gender pay gap discussion to New Orleans (Al Jazeera)  The name of the boutique is 76<100.  The idea is to charge women a discount in proportion to the pay scale for women vs. men.  The 'pay what you’re paid’ shop in Pittsburgh charged women 76%; in Louisiana that will drop to 66%.




  • Greek Aid Talks Gain Urgency as Breakthrough Remains Elusive (Bloomberg)  Differences remain on issues ranging from fiscal assumptions to asset sales and labor and pension reforms. Still, progress has been made in a much improved atmosphere. An official said that Greece should have enough cash to get through the week and make a €200 million payment to the International Monetary Fund on 06 May.


  • With rescuers near, girls stoned to death by Boko Haram (Associated Press, Raleigh News & Observer)  In the Early Bird today we reported that government forces had rescued 234 girls and women from Boko Haram.  This later news fills in some gruesome details.  The number rescued has been increased to 275 but alos added are a number that did not survive the confrontation.  Several girls and women were reported by other captives to have been stoned to death.  Another group (one estimate is there were 10) was mistakenly crushed by being run over by a government armored vehicle.  Several women died being hit by stray bullets - one survivor said she personally witnessed three.  And three were blown up by a land mine during the escape.
  • Boko Haram freed women tell of captivity horror (BBC News)  Tales of bondage and forced marriage while being feed meager and malnutritious "food".

Saudi Arabia

  • Saudi Strikes in Yemen Used Cluster Munitions, HRW Says (Bloomberg)  Human Rights Watch says that the Saudis have been using "banned cluster munitions" supplied by the U.S. in Yemen.  The Saudis claim the munitions used are not banned and are an appropriate response to "crimes being committed by the Houthis" rebels.



  • Disaster-hit Malaysia Airlines offloads A380 superjumbo fleet (CNN)  Malaysia has struggled financially in the wake of twin tragedies in 2014, including the disappearance of flight MH370 and the shooting down of MH17 over Ukraine.  As a result it seems big is no longer best for disaster-hit Malaysia Airlines.  It is said to be offloading its entire fleet of Airbus A380 superjumbos.



Restaurant Performance Index shows Expansion in March (Bill McBride, Calculated Risk)  The Restaurant Performance Index from the Nationa Restaurant Association is follwed regularly by Calculated Risk.  It remains solidly in expansion territory.  It is too new to have a history to review for accuracy, but the sharp decline in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2007 certainly was a good marker for the Great Recession which was declared a year after the fact to have started in December 2007.


2015 Store Closing Roundup: Radio Shack, Wet Seal, Sears, Target, etc. (Barbara Farfan, Retail Industry  Hat tip to Daniel Flemming. Store closings for retail chains are tabulated here.  The list was last updated 12 April 2015. There are a total of 49 chains with 10 or more new store openings.  (Caution:  there appears to be some possible double counting and it is not clear if these are U.S. closings only or globally.)  Those chains with 100 or more planned store closings are listed below (for a total of 5,080 closings).  See also next article.

1,784  Radio Shack (Chapter 11 bankruptcy)
340 Dollar Tree/Family Dollar
338 Wet Seal
300 Deb Shops
265 Body Central / Body Shop
250 Office Depot (2015)
225 Staples (through 2015)
223 Barnes & Noble (through 2023)
200 Children’s Place (through 2017)
200 Walgreens (by 2017)
180 Abercrombie & Fitch (by 2015)
175 Aeropostale (“over the next several years”)
170 Jones Group (by mid-2014 )
150 American Eagle Outfitters (through 2017)
133 Target, Canada (bankruptcy)
127 Jones New York Outlet​
120 Chico’s (through 2017)
100 Pier One (through 2017)

Apple, Starbucks, Walmart, All Retail Store Openings Planned for 2015 (Barbara Farfan, Retail Industry  Hat tip to Daniel Flemming. New store openings for retail chains are tabulated here.  The list was last updated 27 April 2015.  There are a total of 78 chains with 10 or more new store openings.  (Caution:  there appears to be some possible double counting and there is spotty mentioning of global openings.)  Those chains with 100 or more planned new store openings are listed below (for a total of 12,606 new openings).

2500  Subway (globally)
1500  Starbucks (China, through 2019)
1435  Sprint (as part of the RadioShack bankruptcy)
1000  McDonald’s (global)
1000  Wendy's (by 2020)
730    Dollar General
520    ALDI (globally through 2019)
440    Dunkin Donuts (US in 2015)
400    H&M (U.S. and globally)
300    Dunkin Donuts (Internationally in 2015)
350    Philly Pretzel Factory (by 2020)
338    Tony Luke's (by 2025)
240    Walmart (U.S., large and small format)
225    Popeye's
205    Chipotle
205    O’Reilly Auto Parts
200    Uniqlo (globally)
200    Walgreens
158    Skechers (globally)
150    Dick's Sporting Goods (through 2018)
115    Tractor Supply
100    Dunkin Donuts (through 2017 in India)
100    Johnny Rockets (China, 2016)
100    Starbucks (Malaysia, through 2017)
100    ULTA
100    Under Armour (globally)

World Markets Weekend Update: The Worst Week of 2015 (Doug Short, Advisor Perspectives  Doug Short is a regular contributor to GEI. Six of the eight indexes on Doug's world watch list traded lower this week, with China's Shanghai Composite as the top performer for the third consecutive week, gaining 1.89%. Hong Kong's Hang Seng was the other index to post a gain, a modest 0.26%.  The S&P 500 was narrowly lower (-0.46%) and the most dismal was Paris' CAC 40, down 4.18%.  However bad the week just finished, the CAC 40 is still up 16.65% for the year.

Other Economics and Business Items of Note and Miscellanea

3 Aggressive ETF Income Plays Outside The U.S. (FMD Capital)  Three impressive breakout patterns here.

2 Indicted in George Washington Bridge Case; Ally of Christie Pleads Guilty (The New York Times)

Tesla home battery: Worth the cost? Depends where you live (CNN Money

If you live in the South and already own solar panels, it could take you just under three years to make up the cost of the $3,000 Tesla Powerwall battery.  But if you live in the Pacific Northwest and don't have solar panels, it could take you at least 16 years to make up the cost of buying Tesla's new home battery.

AGL Takes on Tesla in Australia With 6kWh Home Battery (Bloomberg)  AGL is one of Australia's largest coal-fired plant electricity producers and plans to phase out of coal and into all renewable energy over 35 years.

The coming revolution in energy storage (Chris Mooney, The Washington Post, The Bend Bulletin)  The truth is Tesla isn’t the only company in the battery game, and whatever happens with Tesla, this market is expected to grow. A study by GTM Research and the Energy Storage Association earlier this year found that while storage remains relatively niche — the market was sized at just $128 million in 2014 — it also grew 40 percent last year, and three times as many installations are expected this year.  By 2019, GTM Research forecasts, the overall market will have reached a size of $1.5 billion, about 160x the market in 2013.

Tesla Energy Storage: What The Bulls And Bears Say (ValueWalk)  Bears value the Tesla Energy stationary storage systems at around $42 per share, while bulls slap a value of $60 to $70 per share on them.

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